Feathers can serve many purposes, including camouflage. This American Woodcock’s feathers resemble the leaf litter, allowing it to virtually disappear. Such effective camouflage is especially important for female woodcocks that nest on the ground and are vulnerable to predators.
This video accompanies Chapter 4, Feathers and Plumages, Handbook of Bird Biology, 3rd Edition from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Wiley Publishing.
Recorded by Tom Johnson, Macaulay Library